A while back we dug into a new Google tool to chart the popularity of Bollywood actresses.
But when I decided to do the same with men, I switched instead to the new Google Insights and executed a comparison. Why? Because men are all about competition. Note that the test is flawed - not hugely so but enough that it shouldn't be taken as gospel. Think of this as a fun exercise that is indicative of larger reality.
I graphed the big five Bollywood actors on the screen: Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar and Hrithik Roshan. I left out Amitabh because Google only allows five keywords at a time for comparison (I know: I'm lazy and I know it. But curious about SRK vs Amitabh? The former generates twice as much search traffic as the latter)
Here is the chart. Each star is mapped by a colored trend line - the legend for which is right below the graph.
So what does the chart tell us? Shahrukh leads the online curiosity sweepstakes. Salman comes next. While that shouldn't surprise anyone its interesting to note that Salman's controversy hogging behavior is modeled by Google in terms of occasional peaks that far exceed SRK's graph.
Hrithik wins the third banana battle with Akshay which isn't surprising because the former has god-like status among his fans. Akshay - despite his thundering box office performances - is still seen as a bit of a low brow star. Urban audiences, a large percentage of online users, have a problem giving him respect.
Aamir comes in last, which is a conundrum. On one hand he's enormously well-respected in the film industry. He gets love from India's maligned film critics as well. But online, he's not much of a presence.
There might be a good explanation for this of course. When people google someone, they are looking for information on a star. Aamir, via his web site and his blog, already has a direct location that his fans can go to. So no searches necessary. (This bit analysis also applies to Amitabh).
On the other hand, you'll also notice that Aamir has spiked in search popularity lately (he was the most popular of all the stars in June). Why the spike? A lot of it came from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. Some of it - ironically - came from Aamir's ill-advised I have a dog called Shahrukh blog shenanigan.
SRK also has the best international interest among his peers. His geo-hot zone map is shown below (the darker the blue the more popular SRK is in that country).
Yet you'll notice he's not wildly popular everywhere. This isn't surprising - Bollywood has barely broken through the desi diaspora and the searches probably represent the sparsity of the desi population in those countries.
Hold that up against a map of a truly international star like say Angelina Jolie and you'll get a good point of comparison.
But I'd like to point this out: Khazakhstan loves SRK more than Angelina.
Finally, I put this blog through the test. Here is what I got.
Link to the charts and related info if you are interested in exploring further.